ATHENS, Ga. – Taking the course for the 103rd round of his collegiate career, FGCU men’s golf senior Brandon Pena (Clewiston, Fla./Clewiston HS) capped his illustrious four-year career in the Green and Blue with an even-par 71 in the final round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships Athens Region on Saturday at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
A two-time Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection, Pena’s 71 was the 41st par or better of his career, as he was making the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship appearance. Pena entered the final round in a tie for 51st place on the 75-player leaderboard, but jumped all the way into a tie for 26th by playing his final six holes at one-under.
Pena finished the three-round Athens Regional with a 74-73-71(E)/218, good for a tie for 12th among the 50 individuals who weren’t on a team that advanced (top 5) out of the 13-team region. Over the 54 holes, Pena had eight birdies, 33 pars and never made anything worse than a bogey. He was one of just 12 players to shoot even-par or better on Saturday.
Top-seeded Alabama led the charge out of the Athens Region, finishing 24-under par (269-276-283/828) to defeat second place East Carolina (276-281-296/853) by 25 strokes. North Florida (271-291-296/858) will continue to represent the A-Sun Conference at the NCAA Championship in Pacific Palisades, Calif. after finishing in third, while host Georgia (280-288-296/864) and Iowa (288-293-285/866) were the other two teams to advance.
Deemed the No. 6 seed out of the 10 individuals playing in the Athens Region, Pena finishes second all-time in the FGCU record books in rounds played, par or lower rounds, counting scores (90) and third with a 73.2 scoring average.
Over 35 career tournaments, he has posted 24 top 20s, a solid 15 top 10s and finished in the top 15 in all four of his A-Sun Championship appearances. Pena also owns four of the top 13 54-hole scores in program history, led by the previously mentioned -10 206 at the Cobra-PUMA Invite that ranks fifth. Pena’s best single-round came at the 2010 A-Sun Championship when he fired a conference final round record seven-under par 65 to help him finish second overall.